Have you been injured in an accident? If so, call a Baltimore personal injury lawyer at William G. Kolodner, P.A. today for a free consultation at (410) 834-4364. Since 1977, we’vebeen dedicated to helping accident victims get the money they deserve.
Suffering an unexpected accident or injury can be devastating. If you are hurt because someone else was negligent, you may be able to hold them accountable. The money you recover can make a massive difference in your life for years to come.
Our attorneys know how important your injury claim is, and we’re prepared to maximize your recovery. We’re available 24/7 to take your call.
What Is a Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury case is a legal dispute between two parties – the plaintiff and a defendant. The case is brought by the plaintiff, who claims to have suffered an injury because of something the defendant did or failed to do.
The purpose of the personal injury case is to force the defendant to compensate the plaintiff for their damages, injuries, and suffering.
In Maryland, personal injury cases are based on tort law. This is distinct from criminal law. Torts are actions or conduct that violate another person’s rights or privileges. Torts can be unintentional (e.g., negligence) or intentional (e.g., assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress).
Why Should I File a Personal Injury Claim?
Accidents can happen, even when you’re being cautious and careful. If you suffer an injury because someone else is negligent or careless, you shouldn’t have to file an injury claim or personal injury lawsuit on your own.
When you file a claim, you can demand to be compensated for your injuries, pain, and suffering. Don’t underestimate the importance of financial recovery.
According to the National Safety Council, an evident injury costs, on average, $27,800. The costs of a disabling injury are more than three times greater – averaging roughly $96,200. Those figures don’t even factor in the intangible injuries you experience, like anxiety, depression, or chronic pain.
By filing a personal injury claim, you can recover money to minimize the financial stresses and burdens of an accident.
How Much Does A Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
It depends. There are several factors that can influence what an attorney will charge for their services. This might include things like:
- How long the attorney has been practicing
- The type of claim you’re filing
- How easy or difficult your legal case is
- What the attorney believes your case might be worth, and
- How much time the attorney believes they’ll have to invest in your case.
Most personal injury lawyers work on contingency. In exchange for representation with no upfront fees, the lawyer receives a percentage of a client’s financial award. While this can and does vary, most lawyers charge between 33.3 and 40 percent.
What Compensation Can I Recover From a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Getting into an accident can have some serious consequences on your wallet. When you file a personal injury claim, you can ask to be reimbursed and paid for any verifiable financial costs and expenses that you experience. These are known as economic damages, and can include money for present and future:
- Surgery, medical equipment, medication, follow-up care, and other medical expenses
- Rehabilitation or therapy
- Nursing care
- Property damage
- Lost income or wages
- Reduced earning capacity, and
By receiving economic damages, it should be as if you were never injured, at all. Maryland does not have a cap (or limit) on economic damages. However, you must be able to prove your losses with bills, invoices, receipts, pay stubs, tax returns, or other documents.
Some injuries can’t be seen. That doesn’t mean that those injuries aren’t real, don’t carry costs, and don’t have a significant impact on your life. In Maryland, non-economic damages are paid to help compensate for these personal injuries. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and PTSD
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring, and
- Pain and suffering.
These damages can be very difficult to value in terms of dollars and cents. That’s why it’s critically important to have an experienced attorney fighting to get you all of the money you deserve.
Note that Maryland does cap non-economic awards. For 2020, the cap is $875,000. In a wrongful death action where there are at least two beneficiaries, the cap is $1,312,500.
Unlike economic and non-economic awards, punitive damages aren’t paid to make you whole after an accident. They’re not paid to compensate you for your suffering. Rather, punitive damages are paid for the singular purpose of punishing the defendant.
Punitive damages aren’t available in all personal injury cases. They’re reserved for situations where a defendant’s conduct is malicious. Most often, the defendant must have actively intended and attempted to cause harm or death.
Unlike many other states, Maryland doesn’t have a cap on punitive awards.
Maryland Personal Injury Laws
States have different ways of handling cases where more than one person’s negligence contributes to an accident. In some states, fault is not an absolute bar to recovery. Rather, it simply affects how much money a victim can receive.
In Maryland, however, fault is an absolute bar to recovery. Under the state’s pure contributory negligence rules, you will not be entitled to seek damages or recover compensation if you’re allocated any responsibility or fault for your accident.
Because of this law, it is absolutely critical to work with an attorney if you’ve been injured in an accident in Baltimore. That’s the best way to make sure that you’re not assigned any blame you don’t deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Cases
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about personal injury cases:
How Can I Know If I Have A Claim?
The only way to know for sure is by talking to an experienced personal injury attorney in Baltimore. That is why William G. Kolodner P.A. offers a free initial case evaluation. This gives you the opportunity to sit down to discuss your situation with our experienced attorneys. We’ll listen closely to your side of the story. We might even ask you to repeat it a few times.
We’ll be listening closely to determine if you have a legitimate claim, as well as searching for reasons an insurance company might deny your request for compensation. Remember, in Maryland, sharing fault can bar a financial recovery.
If you played a role in your accident, you might not have a claim. However, don’t assume anything. Let our team scrutinize and investigate your accident to be sure.
Who Can File A Personal Injury Claim?
Generally speaking, you can file a personal injury claim if, because another person was negligent, you’ve (a) suffered an injury or (b) lost someone you love.
Accident victims have the primary right to file a personal injury claim and demand compensation from at-fault parties. However, that right isn’t lost when an accident victim dies.
Rather, it simply shifts to their beneficiaries. Family members and the victim’s executor can bring wrongful death and/or survival action claims. These actions can help to compensate the family for the costs and suffering associated with an untimely and avoidable death.
How much time do I have to file my personal injury case?
Life can get pretty overwhelming after an unexpected accident. It can take days, weeks, or even months for things to begin to get back to normal. However, don’t put your personal injury case on hold. The state of Maryland has strict statutes of limitations for personal injury cases.
The amount of time you’ll have to assert your rights and demand compensation will depend on your particular case. However, in most cases, the statute of limitations is three years. That means that you’ll have up to three years from the date of your accident to file a civil injury claim.
You could have more or less time to act. Know, however, that you will forfeit the right to recover compensation if you miss the deadline that applies to your case.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
No two accidents in Baltimore are the same. No two injuries are identical. All accident victims are unique, too. There’s really no standard value for a personal injury case. Instead, there are many factors that can and will influence what your case is worth. These are some things to consider:
- How serious are your injuries?
- Will your injuries interfere with your ability to work?
- Will your injury cause you to experience a permanent or total disability?
- Will you be able to take care of yourself, or will have to rely on others to perform everyday tasks?
- Was any property damaged in your accident?
- If so, how much will it cost to replace or repair the damage?
- Is it likely that you’ll suffer from chronic pain?
- How has the trauma of your accident and injury affected you?
- Do you struggle with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues because of your accident?
- Are you permanently disfigured or paralyzed?
- Are you still able to enjoy your life?
As a general principle, the more serious your injuries and catastrophic nature of the accident, the more compensation you may receive. Our Baltimore injury lawyers will work tirelessly to help you get all of the money you deserve.
How Long Will My Case Take?
Again, every case is different. The specific details of your case will influence how long it ultimately takes for your case to be resolved. Factors that are often important include:
- Whether fault for the accident is clear or contested
- How long you’ll need medical treatment
- How many different parties (and insurance companies) are involved
- Who the defendants in the case are
- Whether the insurance company that’s involved acts in good faith when considering and negotiating your claim, and
- Whether you’re willing and able to settle or have to take your case to a jury.
Cases that reach a settlement are typically shorter in length than those that go to trial. However, sometimes it’s important to take your time and not rush a settlement. Getting money in your hands quicker isn’t always the best course of action in the long run.
How Long Until I Receive Compensation?
Once your case is resolved in your favor, you will be entitled to compensation. How long it actually takes to get money in your hands will depend on whether you’ve negotiated a settlement or won in court.
Following a settlement, insurance companies will have an obligation to act in good faith and issue a timely payment without unnecessary delay.
Sometimes this could be a matter of days. Other times, it might take a couple of weeks. Playing games can lead to a bad faith lawsuit, and that’s something insurers will definitely want to avoid.
Payment can take longer after a jury verdict in your favor. That’s because insurance companies and at-fault parties have the option to appeal the decision. If that happens, it could be months or even years until you see a check.
However, our attorneys will be vigilant in getting the money you deserve in your hands as quickly as we can. We’ll stay on top of defendants and fight tenaciously on your behalf. Call William G. Kolodner P.A. for immediate assistance. We can get started on your case as soon as you ask for our help.